Like many of us that live in the area, I pass by the school daily. At the completion of the original project I was delighted to see our tax dollars at work providing local children with a state of the art facility for sports and play. Aesthetically pleasing and highly functional, this field made a nice addition to the neighborhood.
However, my joy was short-lived, when, within weeks of its opening, the entire field and track were removed and trenching for new pipes began. I queried some of the contractors' personnel and was told they had to install new pipe to resolve some drainage issues.
It is clear that this project was ill-managed and lacked critical supervision and inspections as the work proceeded. For a construction management company to charge an additional $50,000 for ineffective oversight is unconscionable and should be addressed. Worse yet, the school district's own facility director, Ahmad Sheikholeslami, when asked by the Almanac "why the firm should be paid additional money when the original work it oversaw was found to be seriously flawed," is quoted as saying: "With projects of this nature, you can't always catch every little thing."
"Every little thing?" If the school district's representative has such low expectations of what constitutes good oversight, it's no wonder this happened.
Contrary to Mr. Sheikholeslami's assessment, this debacle is not a "little thing." Thousands of taxpayer dollars are needlessly being spent, kids have been and will be deprived of the use this facility, city after-school programs have been impacted, and massive overtime wages are being incurred. Even if the district is ultimately reimbursed, it still begs the question: "Why wasn't it done right the first time?"